The Hardest Stage of Life
The hardest stage of life is right now.
All too often as we get older, we like to inform the youngsters about how “easy” they have it now, and “just wait until…” and to enjoy today while it lasts because someday you’ll wish for days like today, and the worst one is, “It’s not a big deal. You’ll get over it. When _____ and _____ happens, then you’ll really have something to complain about.”
As coaches, the longer we do this, the more we can fall into this same trap. Telling newer clients to not worry about it, don’t do this, do that, quit your complaining, blah blah blah. We can go off on self-righteous expeditions. Well-intended, of course, but poorly received (And understandably so). Even veteran CrossFitters can do this to other fellow athletes.
We all have to remember that each and every one of us is on a unique and very individual journey.
And, those of us that are older and more experienced need to allow the younger and novice to make the same mistakes we did, to struggle and improve the ways we got to, and to be allowed to process both negatively and positively as they figure themselves out… Just like we got to.
Hindsight is a b**ch, because it makes us actually believe that we can fix the past. Had I known better in high school, had I only found CrossFit back then, I could have… And, as we look longingly at our past trying to correct it, we inevitably and inadvertently project it onto our youth and beginners.
The hardest stage of CrossFit is right now.
Whether it’s your very first day of On-Ramp, your 6th month, or your 6th year, and whether it’s your first day back from vacation, your third week back from shoulder surgery, or your second month back postpartum - All of those stages are challenging. And, even if you’re injury-free, kid-free, and debt-free, you still have your own internal battles and other challenges we know nothing about.
We are all in our hardest stage of life. Right now. And, the reason that right now is the hardest stage is because, well, we are living it right now.
We are enduring the NOW.
Let’s try to allow each other to live our own stage of life and stage of CrossFit by supporting and encouraging one another, as well as sympathizing and just LISTENING. Acknowledgement is an incredibly powerful gift, and often it’s all we need.
Just someone to say, “Yes, I see you, I hear you, and I know that pain, too!” That’s it. Don’t try to fix it for them or compare it to anything else.
I am still working on this skill myself, because naturally as a coach I want to fix everything and help. But, the next time an athlete is struggling with their performance after trying to do it “Rx,” instead of me giving them a lecture about scaling appropriately, maybe the better approach is to acknowledge the stage of fitness they are in right now. I remember when I was finally able to do workouts “Rx” but was still the last person to finish. While I was excited about being able to do it “Rx” I was also frustrated with my inability to do it quickly. Now, though, I realize that I was just in that transitional stage from scaling to Rx’ing, and just as I had to start from the bottom my first day of CrossFit, so too did I need to start at the bottom as a newly “Rx” athlete. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
The hardest stage of life is right now. However, it is also the best stage, because with each fleeting moment, you have the opportunity and choice to be better, to learn, to grow, to evolve.
We like to pretend that we are guaranteed 100 years, but we are guaranteed nothing except death. So, live your stage of life to the fullest, and allow others to live theirs.